Eagles fans, the time has finally come, the Philadelphia Eagles regular season has officially come to an end. The Birds hosted the Dallas Cowboys to close out the season and as many predicted, they lost. After all fans pretty much knew the Eagles were going to rest their starters, the 'JV' team held their own through the first few quarters before the game got to be out of hand.
Even though Philly seated mosted of their few remaining starters after the first couple drives, allowing their division rivals to put up 50 points is not a great site and unfortunately is going to have this game be glorified for sometime to come. However, it is important to note that Dallas played 80% of their starting cast and still allowed the Birds to put up 26 points and really up until the 4th quarter let Philly hang around.
Ultimately this was to be expected and the fact this was not a 40-7 blowout, is impressive in itself. Going from a 2 and 5 start to finishing the season 9 and 8 and headed to the playoffs should put some faith back into this team. Alright, let's get into some of the major takeaways.
1. Fans should hope JJAW played his final snaps as a Eagle.
There has been two major black eyes on this orgnazation over the course of the past few seasons, one of them being this team drafting J.J Arcega-Whiteside over D.K Metcalf or anyone for that matter. JJAW has some what slipped under the radar this season and when he has been called up, was able to make contributing plays.
But his small doses of offensive snaps help kept him out of the limelight, until Week 18. In the season finale for Philadelphia, JJAW found himself to be almost worthless in this game. In fact, I will take it a step further. I am going to contribute a majority of the Birds second half trouble to him. Costly penalities, terrible catching attempts, and a dropped touchdown are going to likely be how he is remembered.
2. DeVonta Smith is and will be a franchise altering calibar player for this team.
There has been some back and fourth if ultimately the Eagles selecting rookie reciever DeVonta Smith was the best choice. Some talk inside this fanbase leans towards this team picking the likes of Micah Parsons would've been a better choice. Especailly since it came out recently that the Birds could've actually aquired a 4th first-round draft pick via the Bears, they ultimately chose Smith.
Last night was a prime example of why Smith was the right choice. The entire offense is different when he is out on the field and for the short time that he was, he was Minshew's go-to target. Smith broke the Eagles rookie recieving record last night, though it was in a 17 game season, he did it with almost 20 less targets.
3. Milton Williams has to be a priority for this team heading into the offseason.
Most fans are aware of Williams impressive combine results and how they are comparable to Aaron Donald, but a quiet begining to the season had Williams placed on the backburner of many minds. However, over the course of the last few weeks Williams has flashed his power and athletism and has become a dominant force in the trenches.
Week 18 served no different. Williams absolutely bullied the Cowboys offensive line for a majority of the game both on the outside and the interior. He has all the abilities to be a special player, but this team has to put some resources into him in the offseason.
4. How a QB controversy was even created is beyond me at this point.
I am going to give Gardner Minshew a small pass because the majority of his starting cast was missing and he was primarily facing Cowboys' starters, but he simply just did not play well. Typically, Minshews calling card is taking care of the football and throwing it away when needed, but some concerns of Minshew as QB were on full display against the division rival.
Many ill-advised throws, avoidable sacks, and just overall bad pocket presence became the final nail to the Eagles coffin. I will give him credit though, it could've been very easy to have checked out of that game, but Minshew kept fighting all four quarters and that is something he should hang his hat on.
5. Though they will, the Cowboys should not have this win glorified.
It's always going to be a talking point of the Cowboys putting up a '50 burger' on the Eagles, and even I will admit it's a hard pill to swallow, but it took 'Dem Boys' playing their starters for almost the entire game to get it done. Even then, the Eagles hung around this matchup until the fourth-quarter.
It may be a concern of Dallas that their trenches were bullied by a practice squad for most of the game and how big of a impact missing Parsons really has.